`Chip' Mason rings opening bell at NYSE

`An emotional high,' a colleague reports

Securities industry

February 11, 1999|By Bill Atkinson | Bill Atkinson,SUN STAFF

In celebration of Legg Mason Inc.'s 100th anniversary, Raymond A. "Chip" Mason, chairman of the Baltimore-based securities firm, rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange yesterday to begin trading.

Mason made the trip to New York with five other executives and directors of the brokerage and money management firm. They ate breakfast with Richard A. Grasso, the exchange's chairman and chief executive.

"It was an emotional high," said James W. Brinkley, president of Legg Mason Wood Walker Inc., the firm's brokerage arm, who watched as Mason rang the bell. "It was one of those things you will think about for a long time. It is terrific for Baltimore. We feel very proud to be in Baltimore."

Mason declined to be interviewed by reporters because he was in meetings all day.

Legg traces its roots to a one-man company founded in 1899 by George Mackubin, who was 25 years old when he started the firm. George Mackubin & Co. operated out of the downtown Stock Exchange Building, where it had one desk.

Mackubin took on a partner, G. Clem Goodrich, and in 1900, they hired hard-working John C. Legg Jr., who eventually took over the company. In 1949, the firm marked its 50th anniversary by changing its name to John C. Legg & Co.

In 1970, Legg merged with Mason & Co., a Newport News, Va., brokerage started by Chip Mason. Legg Mason now has 120 domestic and international offices, 4,200 employees and $82 billion in assets under management.

Legg Mason expects to reach $1 billion in revenue by March 31, when its 1999 fiscal year ends, Brinkley said. Another goal within reach is to have $100 billion in assets under management.

"We certainly will get there," Brinkley said. "Our growth in the last few years has been rather special."

Pub Date: 2/11/99

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